Thom – Review of the Breaking Bad finale "Felina"
Well, here it is. I’ve got so many things I should be doing other than this, but I can’t help myself. Vince Gilligan’s masterpiece has come to an end, so I feel it’s only right that I talk about that today. Of course there are spoilers included, but if you haven’t seen the final episode, and are interested enough to read this, you should sort that out. I’m still in shock, but I think I’ve composed myself enough to do this. One more thing I want to say quickly, I love the title of this episode – the chemical references to Iron (Fe), Lithium (Li) and Sodium (Na) – or blood, meth and tears – as well as being an anagram of finale‽ Absolutely fantastic. Absolutely deserving of an interrobang.
The episode really got into gear when Walt arrived at the Schwartz residence – I liked the scenes beforehand and they suited Walt’s by-all-means ideology he had, especially these past few episodes – trying to right all the wrongs that had occurred by his hand. That said, I can’t really go into that as I’d just be repeating what happened, and that’s not what I want to do today.
I was completely wrong on how I thought the White/Schwartz confrontation would go – I assumed it wasn’t going to turn violent, but I’ve been shocked before by this show. It shows how Walt has, well, matured would be the wrong word, but is now trying to ensure his work was not for nothing, regardless of how it leaves his family feeling about him. Badger and Skinny Pete with the laser pointers was a great touch; I didn’t see that coming at all, although I did feel $100,000 each may have been a bit cheap for hitmen to keep tabs on them – that said, I’m no expert. Glad to see them get a spot in the finale however.
This scene was phenomenal. Todd was a terrible person, but the guy never got a chance to express his love for her. Unless he did – actually, I’m not sure if it was implied or not, other people may have had different interpretations, but the fact that they’re sitting together, (on the same table!) says something. Lydia definitely thought she was the smartest there, but I guess that didn’t really work out all that well for her. All in all, it was awkward as anything, but enjoyable to watch. When the Stevia was added, I suspected Walt may have done it – when you’re on /r/breakingbad a lot, you’ll come to those sort of conclusions, but I wasn’t sure how he did at the time; thinking back, I was a fool not to be certain.
Even though it was only for the scene, I was so happy to see Marie. Anyone who has read any of my previous Breaking Bad stuff will know how much I love her (and Betsy Brand even more. I’ve got a lot of time for her – especially after replying to me on Twitter for a second time!)
Sorry, I’m breaking things up far too much. The one thing I really regret about it is that Marie is unlikely to ever know the truth about Hank and Gomie’s deaths. Of course it had to be that way really, and by and large it was a happier ending than we could have hoped for. That said, I’m one of those who really wanted a true happy ending – regardless of how realistic it was. I’m glad Vince Gilligan is the one running things though, and not me.
The conversation between Skyler and Walt was more civil than I would have anticipated, especially after everything Skyler has been put through over the past year or so. At least it’ll be a bit of a conclusion for the Whites and the Schraders; I’m just upset it was at Walt’s expense, especially after how hard he tried to prevent it. Still, he knows it was his fault, so que sera, sera and all that. The scene did take me back to Walt though – he wasn’t Heisenberg for those five minutes – he confessed that he was terrible, and I honestly think that he was shocked that he said he liked it. At least a little bit – he never wanted to admit that to himself, but it was something of a coming clean all over again. I’m losing sight here, I’ll get on to the next one. The parents being reunited with Holly together one last time was something special though, a touching moment in a finale filled with such chaos. Him seeing Jr. coming in was hard to watch too, you know how much he’d want to speak to him one last time, but it just wasn’t a possibility and it hurt. The life of a drug kingpin isn’t all fun and games.
Also, before I forget, I can’t quite remember where in the episode it was, but that scene with Jesse and the box, as well as the segue into him cooking was so well done – I suspected some flashbacks this episode, but I’m especially happy that was shown, as I thought the rehab scene where he spoke about the box a while back was pretty powerful – and showing a fresh faced teenager transforming to a prisoner shows the fragility of life and how one’s choices can have such an impact.
I wasn’t sure how the confrontation between Walt and the Nazis would go. It was tremendous. The build up was great and, while I’m sure Walt knew that he couldn’t trust them, I don’t think he expected to be put to the gun straight away – he would have had to have had a lot of faith in the fact that Jack would have enough pride to bring Jesse in. The use of the gun was genius; obviously we all saw it coming when he parked the car outside the building, but it didn’t make it any less powerful to watch. He took a few more lives before his came it was over – these were ones who truly deserved it. Todd surviving had to happen, and gave Jesse some sense of retribution – as far as I can recall, this was the first murder he actually wanted to do – after Todd killing Andrea, you could tell this was coming. Walt killing Jack was great too – it’s no longer about the money – now the family would have more than enough to live from, it was all about revenge, and it was fantastic.
The stand off between the two had to happen, and I’m glad it happened the way it did. Jesse still had his frustrations, but you knew he couldn’t kill Walt – after everything they had been through together, imagine if he had just shot him dead. I think initially he just wanted him to suffer, but also didn’t want more blood on his hands.
Walt letting Lydia know he was directly responsible for her death brought the last season full circle – for all the unnecessary death, the ones who actually deserved to be punished were and a “happier” ending than this didn’t really seem possible. The final scene between the two cooks was great, they parted ways for the final time with an understanding – the student was finally free from the teacher and everything that came along with it – I saw something else on Reddit (sorry to keep going on about it) showing Jesse finally being in control – he’s not a prisoner any longer, neither in the literal nor metaphorical sense, he can go back to his life, as much as that’s possible.
The final scene with Walt was hard to watch. I don’t seen it ending any other way – he wasn’t going to be caught by anyone other than Hank so it was inevitable he would pass – he had ensured the future would be as good as it would get for the protagonists, so his work was done. Badfinger’s “Baby Blue” over the ending was fantastic, and possibly the best use of music since The Pretender’s “Boots of Chinese Plastic” was used in the car-park-explosion scene. I’m (correctly I hope) assuming Walt was dead at the end, and the idea that he got to take responsibility for the last batch of Blue comforts me in a weird way – now he is dead, the brand should die with him – as evident by Skinny Pete and Badger believing it was him anyway. I’m glad we got a conclusive ending – if it ended in a Sopranos-esque fashion there would have been an uproar, as effective as that ending was, it shouldn’t be done again, and I know Vince knew that too. He stated that this episode wouldn’t please everyone, but I think it did a very good job pleasing most people! While I thought we may get a montage of how everything changed afterwards, in a manner similar to The Wire, I’m kind of glad we didn’t. I’m sure things would have happened well for the remaining cast; how we expected so it may have been good to leave something to the imagination. Well, that’s it then.
I don’t know what else to do about television now. I haven’t watched the last series of Dexter (but I know about the lumberjack business) nor The Walking Dead (someone spoiled this too) – nothing compares to this for me now. I want to see where everyone goes next – I may check out Dean Norris in Under The Dome or Betsy in The Michael J. Fox Show. I just don’t know how anything will live up to this.
I forgot to say, I entered the competition on Omaze to watch this alongside Aaron Paul and the cast, but I guess I didn’t win. Mainly because I’m in bed watching the finale (luckily on a day off from uni) somewhere other than the US. I’m not even angry though – I’m happy to have donated money for charity regardless – and it’s still much less from me than is warranted by this show – if Aaron Paul gives me his email, I will PayPal him another $10 now, just…because.
Oh yeah, one more thing. The credit for the images goes to those who own them at AMC and Sony Pictures Television. I print screened them from Netflix all by myself! I’m not sure why I put this when I never had before, but I wanted to give credit where it is due, and that is to everyone who has made the show what it is. Thank you Vince Gilligan and staff for crafting what is sure to go down as one of, if not the greatest show of all time. Thank you to the acting staff – not limited to, but including Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Betsy Brandt, Dean Norris, RJ Mitte, Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks and Bob Odenkirk. Thank you to everyone involved in this masterpiece. It’ll take time and another run through for me to decide if it is the greatest of all time – shows like The Sopranos, The Wire and Twin Peaks are all up there for me, but this is certainly a new name on the list. I don’t know what else to say. Thank you.
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